Free Lance-Star reporter Amy Umble covers Stafford County schools and other education issues

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An opportunity to be together

Most area schools are closed again tomorrow (Oct. 30), and I’m sure most kids are excited but starting to get a little bit worried that Halloween will be cancelled.

How are you handling the school closings? As soon as I heard schools would be closed today, I immediately started trying to find out if Quantico would be open so I could know if my husband would be home. I now have three kids at home, including a newborn and a severely autistic teenager, so daycare arrangements included a combination of my husband and my parents. What did you have to do for daycare?

We tried to prepare for the expected storm with a 3-hour hike to get all the extra energy out of my oldest son. But he still had plenty of energy left over today. How are your kids doing? Bouncing off the walls yet? Have you had any good strategies for keeping them occupied?

The Wall Street Journal’s The Juggle blog interviewed a social worker and family coach with some good ideas on how to handle the unexpected “snow days” and what to do if Sandy cancels trick-or-treating. Some highlights: The neighbors traded off childcare duties–she hosted 10 kids for breakfast, then they went to another house for lunch and a third for dinner, which let parents get some time to work from home.

As for the terrifying idea that Frankenstorm might destroy Halloween, Catherine Pearlman suggested that families dress up together and still have fun indoors. I loved her quote: “This is such an opportunity to be together.” I’m guilty of getting stressed over schedule changes instead of embracing the chance to be with my kids. How about you? Let me know what you’re doing with your unexpected together time. If you’ve got pictures, I’d love to post them. Send them to, put them on the wall of my Facebook page or tweet them to me (@aumble).